If you are going through the criminal justice system, it is highly likely that you will deal with a plea bargain at some point. In the vast majority of cases in the US system, prosecutors try to offer plea bargains.
Whether or not it is a good idea to accept or reject a particular plea bargain depends on the details of your individual case. However, there are three main areas of negotiation in plea bargaining, according to FIndLaw. They are charge, sentence, and fact.
Why are plea bargains so common?
One of the reasons why plea bargains are so common is because it saves the prosecutor a lot of time. Usually, no judges involve themselves in this process, but on rare occasions it occurs.
However, even though plea bargains are common, nobody can force you to accept one. Usually, your attorney will offer you advice about your options and explain what the best choice is.
How are the three areas of negotiation different from each other?
Charge bargaining and sentence bargaining are very similar. When you think of the term plea bargain you probably think of a charge bargain. Basically, the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser crime in order to avoid going to trial for a more serious one. Sentence bargaining is almost the same thing, only that the defendant agrees to plead guilty to the more serious charge but with a lesser sentence.
Fact bargaining is very rare and not all courts do it. With fact bargaining, the prosecution agrees not to disclose certain information or evidence in return for introducing other facts into evidence.